UK visa offices open for South Africans moving to UK
For South Africans contemplating a move to the UK, the visa centres in South Africa are open for new applications.
With restrictions easing in Europe, visa offices are starting to reopen globally following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has implemented a controlled, phased, reopening of Service Points.
A reduced number of locations are operating at a lower capacity than usual in the interests of the safety of customers and staff, and to ensure that the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) delivers an effective service that still meets public health guidelines. Ongoing global restrictions mean some UKVI services will remain closed.
John Dunn, the director of citizenship and immigration at Sable International, said that South Africans could now rebook existing UK visa or British appointment that they were not able to attend due to the pandemic. He said UKVCAS will honour existing payments, and applicants will not be charged again and no appointment prices will be displayed for rebooking.
However, certain short stay categories like the visit visa and EEA family permit that are issued for 6 months but have expired will not be renewed or extended. They will have to be resubmitted in full, and government fees must be paid again.
“We are able to book appointments for new applications, but there is a lower number of appointments available, due to the restriction on the number of people they are safely allowed to see each day.
“The South African government has opened the borders to people who have work commitments and study commitments abroad. This includes those on the student visas and who have work permits that have been approved before or during this time. However, the borders are unlikely to open in full for other travel before October,” said Dunn.
While the UK borders were not officially closed, people arriving in the UK will need to spend 14 days in self-isolation and will need to fill in a locator form upon arrival, detailing where they plan to spend those 14 days.
The process when you get to the UK:
Dunn detailed the process for South Africans arriving in the UK.
“When you arrive in the UK, you will not be allowed to leave the place where you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK (known as ‘self-isolating’) unless you’re arriving from an exempt country.
“All South African visitors to the UK will need to complete the public health passenger locator form 48 hours before arrival. You must present these details on your arrival in England. You may be refused permission to enter the UK (if you are not a British citizen), or fined if you do not provide your contact details or do not self-isolate unless you arrive in the UK from an exempt country.
“You should self-isolate in one place for the full 14 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered, and stay away from others. You must self-isolate at the address you provided on the public health passenger locator form.
“You cannot go out to work or school or visit public areas, go shopping or go out to exercise. If you require help buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, you should order a delivery.
“If you cannot safely self-isolate for 14 days, you should tell Border Force Officers when you pass through UK border controls. They will provide you with details of a booking service which you can use to obtain accommodation and self-isolate in at your own expense," he said.